1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimbly ? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2011, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimbly ?

Didn't watch the Roland Garros semi but Chris must have had an off day (lost 62 62) on her favourite surface. She lost two weeks later to Nav 62 57 64 at Wimbledon in a thrilling match. It echoes 1984 when she got trashed by Nav at RG final but almost won the first set of the Wimbledon final. It's funny how Chris could be inspired on grass sometimes against Nav (even their 1988 was a great match) but not so much on clay.
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 01:14 AM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

Evert felt pressure on clay versus not so much on grass. Plus, Evert was the 2-time defending champion at the 1987 French Open and was starting to lack patience on clay. Navratilova at the 1984 French Open was just too good.

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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 02:27 AM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

Chris overperformed in the Wimbledon semis. Who would have ever thought at that point she would do better vs Martina on grass than Graf would at that Wimbledon. At the French she looked flat and out of it.
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 01:32 PM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

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Chris overperformed in the Wimbledon semis. Who would have ever thought at that point she would do better vs Martina on grass than Graf would at that Wimbledon. At the French she looked flat and out of it.
I would agree on both counts. Chris and Martina both had some real swings in form as they aged.
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 08:21 PM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

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Didn't watch the Roland Garros semi but Chris must have had an off day (lost 62 62) on her favourite surface. She lost two weeks later to Nav 62 57 64 at Wimbledon in a thrilling match. It echoes 1984 when she got trashed by Nav at RG final but almost won the first set of the Wimbledon final. It's funny how Chris could be inspired on grass sometimes against Nav (even their 1988 was a great match) but not so much on clay.
During the 1987-89 period:

Clay was no longer Evert's favourite surface, she no longer had the patience for longer rallies (especially against younger opponents - I would add fitter opponents, but Evert in 1987 was probably fitter than many younger rivals, such as Sabatini).

Evert was entering her "Hana phase" when she just never knew which player was going to show up. This match was one such example. In contrast, she ran through Martina in two sets at the Paris Cup final indoors and played her very close at Wimbledon in that same year (the closest Martina had been to losing at SW19 since 1981). Those were occasions when the Ice Maiden did show up. She also beat Martina on green clay in her first match of 1987.

Evert had a similar horror first set against Martina in the 1986 final (lost 6-1), but managed to pull herself together and win the next two sets back then.

Evert's body was beginning to slowly let her down - her first match of 1987 was at Houston (she skipped the Australian Open) and she was not really as match-fit as the other players (Martina was also beginning to get a few niggles around that time as well).

Chris actually made her seeding in the 1987 FO and may possibly have not wanted to face Graf in the final very much, as Graf had begun to beat her and she did not, at that point, have much of an idea how to counter Graf's power (that changed in 1988 and 1989).
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 09:20 PM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

I think that the score in the French semis also had a lot to do with Navratilova's general level of play at the French that year. She was keen to prove a point, having come to Paris without a single tournament win in the first five months of 1987. The presence of Renee Richards calmed Navratilova down and I feel that using the Graf model Dunlop racquet (painted black to look like her Yonex frame) might have also made her feel mentally ready to take on Graf. Martina really wanted to play and beat Steffi in the final, and Chris just happened to be in the way.

Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

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In contrast, she ran through Martina in two sets at the Paris Cup final indoors
There was no such tournament as the Paris Cup indoors in 1987.
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 2011, 11:25 PM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

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There was no such tournament as the Paris Cup indoors in 1987.
Not much there wasn't such a tournament...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEH_dGGpKws
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

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Not much there wasn't such a tournament...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEH_dGGpKws
The title is misleading. It's actually and exhibition in Cap d'Agde, southern France.
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 02:33 AM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

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The title is misleading. It's actually and exhibition in Cap d'Agde, southern France.
That sounds right. The women played exos there in the 1980s for at least 2 or 3 years.

Cool video. And horrendous 80s hair!
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post #11 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 02:37 AM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

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I think that the score in the French semis also had a lot to do with Navratilova's general level of play at the French that year. She was keen to prove a point, having come to Paris without a single tournament win in the first five months of 1987. The presence of Renee Richards calmed Navratilova down and I feel that using the Graf model Dunlop racquet (painted black to look like her Yonex frame) might have also made her feel mentally ready to take on Graf. Martina really wanted to play and beat Steffi in the final, and Chris just happened to be in the way.
Intersting take on this particular match. A contrast with 1986 may shed light on it too. In 1986 Evert was just god-awful in the first set and then really picked it up while Martina wilted a fraction.

As any of us who play a lot know there are just days when we can't sink our teeth into a match. And days when a foe lets off the gas pedal just enough to give you room to recover-and days when they don't.
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post #12 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 02:43 AM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

A New york Times report of the match appears to support both Samn's and Sumarokov-Elston's takes on the match....

"Navratilova, playing her best ennis of a frustrating year, dominated every aspect of the game today." The article goes on to praise her play from the baseline, noting her looped topspin forehands.

"Evert, on the other hand, was going for forcing shots and missing most of them."
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post #13 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 06:32 AM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

A newspaper report from the Associated Press and the Washington Post, published in the Milwaukee Journal on 5 June 1987 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=218aAAAAIBAJ&sjid=CSsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=40 35,4104754&dq=chris-evert+and+french-open&hl=en):
[Chris] Evert's departure from the French Open was as stunning as [Gabriela] Sabatini's was dramatic. The seven-time champion was destroyed by [Martina] Navratilova 6-2, 6-2, in a semifinal match that lasted only 73 minutes. That was exactly half as long as it took [Steffi] Graf to beat Sabatini 6-4, 4-6, 7-5

Both matches were delayed by rain on yet another day of fluky weather, sunny one minute, rainy the next.

"I'm really not sure what happened because I haven't had a chance to think about it yet," said a confused and upset Evert. "Maybe I didn't think about the match enough. I'd been hitting the ball well and I thought I could go out and just do that again. But playing Martina is different than playing baseliners."

Evert was missing in a way Evert almost never misses - approach shots sailed long, backhands went wide, forehands cracked the net tape. Navratilova actually led, 6-2, 5-0, and had two match points before Evert salvaged a tiny piece of pride by saving those points and getting to 5-2. It was so bad that in this, their 72nd meeting, which Navratilova leads 38-34, Navratilova found her mind wandering, her thoughts turning to Evert near the end of the match.

"I couldn't help myself there near the end," she said. "I was trying to end the match and I caught myself thinking, 'My God, I'm glad it's not me losing like this but I know how bad she's going to feel.' And then I began to think that I know I'll be here next year but Chris might not be. So, I started thinking, 'Is this the end for Chris at the French?'"
A newspaper report from the Associated Press and published in the Record-Journal (Meridan, Connecticut) on 3 July 1987 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=hP9HAAAAIBAJ&sjid=OQANAAAAIBAJ&pg=36 78,475433&dq=chris-evert+and+french-open+disappointed+and+navratilova&hl=en):
Chris Evert came up a loser Friday, though she played her best tennis in a semifinal match that will become a Wimbledon legend. Even Martina Navratilova, who beat her, wept for Chris.

Evert said the sorrow was misplaced.

"I can't play any better," Evert said after losing 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to her longtime rival on Centre Court.

"This is her best surface. If anything, I feel proud of myself. Today I played really, really well and I can't ask any more of myself," Evert said.

Navratilova had tears in her eyes at the end of the two-hour, two-minute match.

"It was for Chris losing," Navratilova said. "I really wished that she could win this tournament one more time. It actually overwhelmed me. I did not expect to feel that much. Knowing that we're close to the end and that people have been writing Chris off, she comes back and plays one of the best matches of her life and still loses. We were talking as we walked off court. I didn't have a chance to get too sentimental about it. We were just talking about the match. When we shook hands, Chris said, 'I hope I didn't take too much out of you for the final.' I mean, what a thing to say. I'm just proud and thrilled to be part of this, and I honestly wish that we could have stopped at 30-all [in the last game of the match]."

The 73rd meeting between the two was one of their most exhiliarating, and it captivated a capacity crowd that included Britain's Pricess Diana and middleweight boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard.

Navratilova, serving brilliantly, angling her volleys, steady and powerful off the ground, diving all over the court, hardly made a mistake.

Evert, blasting scorching service returns and passing shots to the forehand and backhand, made just a few more.

Points came on more outright winners than unforced errors.

But one of the players had to lose and fate fell on Evert, who trails 39-34 in the long rivalry.

She pinpointed two key points that she said may have lost her the match.

In the first game of the final set, Evert dropped her serve after leading 30-0. Had she won the game, she would have moved ahead in the match.

"That disappointed me," she said. "After that, I was always down a game."

The other moment of frustration, she said, came when Navratilova served for the match at 5-4.

"I had break point and she serves a ball down the (middle), right on the line," Evert said. "But I'm just happy that I did not lose the match. Martina won it."

Evert, 32, said it was the best match the rivals had ever played on grass.

"She served unbelievably well, and I served well. Obviously, I'm disappointed because it came down to one game. But I feel I put everything on the line," Evert said. "It's too bad in a match like that, that there has to be a loser. I'm not one to break down in front of people (when I lose). I went to the back room and showed my emotion a little bit."

Evert said she preferred to lose in a tight match than be thrashed in straight sets, as she was by Navratilova in the semifinal of last month's French Open.

"This was probably the happiest I've felt after a loss in a long time," she said. "I really felt competitive, and that feeling has been in and out this year. This is Martina's best surface. She's going to do the most damage on grass. She's had the most success on this Centre Court. I felt like I put everything on the line ... especially considering it was on grass courts, which still suits her game better than my game."

Navratilova, going for a record sixth consecutive Wimbledon title, said the match was of as high a standard as any she had played against Evert.

Twice Navratilova launched herself into the air to hit winning shots.

It was dramatic theatre, and it came on Centre Court of the world's most prestigious grass-court tournament.

"That was as high as anything, if not the best, because there were just so few unforced errors," Navratilova said. "It was incredible. It was winners, just winners or forced errors. Chris never served better against me or hit the ball deeper or more consistently. It was definitely the best that she ever played that I still won."

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Billie Jean Moffitt King's playing career: http://billie-jean-moffitt-king.blogspot.com

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Last edited by austinrunner; Nov 29th, 2011 at 07:21 AM.
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post #14 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2011, 07:12 AM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

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Originally Posted by LightWarrior View Post
The title is misleading. It's actually and exhibition in Cap d'Agde, southern France.
!!!!
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post #15 of 50 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2011, 04:29 PM
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Re: 1987 : why did Evert got crushed by Navratilova at RG but almost beat her at Wimb

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Originally Posted by LightWarrior View Post
The title is misleading. It's actually and exhibition in Cap d'Agde, southern France.
yes, the video has that in the description actually ... it wasnt the kind of 'exhibition' where they just play each other for fan enjoyment (which they also did a few of in the last years of chrissie's career) ~ it was a full tournament, but not an official tour event.

But far more impressive than this was the real tour event in Los Angeles, which was their first meeting after the Wimbledon semi.... Chris won 6-2 6-1 in the Los Angeles Slims semi. Probably her finest win of the year, if not the best of her last 3 years on tour.

Much like the French semi, which had almost the same score in the opposite direction, it shows if one Great shows up playing their best, they can always clean the other's clock.
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